The Shack: a theologically twisted view of the Trinity

shackI’ve honestly been meaning to write this blog forever now. I went through this book a couple of months ago, and wrote down several notes on it, so it has remained very fresh. The reason I read the book is because it has taken both the country and the Christians by storm! I’ve had fellow youth pastors rave about the book, teenagers ask about it, and church members inquire concerning it as well. Previously, all I had done was listen to other pastors comment on it. Pastor Mark Driscoll (youtube search line: mark driscoll on the shack) did an amazing seven minute blurb on the book. I’m sure I’ll sound a little like him in this article. But I decided to go through it myself. In fact, if you’re wondering my thoughts on whether or not you should read it…I would say definitely don’t. The book is so clever and well written, I’m not sure if I even picked out all of the heresy because of how engaging it is. But what heresy I did pick out, it was gross enough to give me a life long mission to steer everyone away from the book. Here are my thoughts:

First of all, the main comment I hear about The Shack is, “I understand the Trinity so much better now.” To that my answer is always, “No, you understand William P. Young’s view of the Trinity better now.” The biblical theology of this book is…atrocious, horrendous, and downright freaks me out if people are falling for it and don’t know any better. Here are some examples…

  1. One of God’s greatest and most clear commands is that we are to NEVER make Him into a graven image. If it EVER made sense for God to bend on this rule, it would be with the Israelites who were begging to worship an idol that represented our God. God wouldn’t bend on it, neither does He for us. God the Father is Spirit!
  2. This book is goddess worship which is demonic. Both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are grossly misrepresented in this book as female/women. Every time in Scripture, God is represented with the masculine pronoun. Is God a man? No, neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit are a man in Scripture. Jesus Christ is fully a man in Scripture. But nonetheless, the Father and the Spirit are both Spirit beings that are represented with masculine pronouns in their Word!
  3. There is a wrong emphasis on “relationship over truth” that is unbiblical.
  4. Papa (God the Father) eerily doesn’t even sound like the God of the Bible when “she” speaks.
  5. The book is overly Modalistic. Modalism (heretics like T. D. Jakes) says that God doesn’t exist as one God in three Persons, but rather God is only one Person who has shown Himself in three different ways throughout history: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This book says things about God such as the Father and the Spirit died along with the Son which screams of Modalism to me…and others! It also says that all three of them became human along with Jesus.
  6. The book is very negative when it comes to theological training.
  7. The book is very negative for thinking about God in a box, and it even says that we shouldn’t limit God to His book (meaning the Bible)!
  8. The book links a demonic “Great Indian Spirit” with God the Father.
  9. This is more weird…Jesus is clumsy in the book and drops a bowl of something. That’s more just kooky to me.
  10. Get this…the author says that God limits His knowledge so that when we tell Him something…its like we’re telling Him something He doesn’t know!
  11. I about went crazy over this one…the book says that all human authoritative hierarchy is a part of sin and the curse. It said that God is not about hierarchy, authority, or power…but rather He is all about love instead. That just doesn’t make any biblical sense. The Father in Scripture is seen as loving authority over the Son (1 Corinthians 11:3, John 4:34, etc.). The Son in Scripture is seen as having loving authority over the Spirit (Acts 2:33). Authority isn’t wrong, sinful, or a result of the curse! Authority is bound up in who God truly is. In fact, the author of the book even had God say that not only do we humans submit to Him, but there are times when He submits to us. Why doesn’t Christian evangelicalism pick up on these heresies? Why are we selling these books in major Christian bookstores?

Okay, now that you have heard all of the negative… I’m hoping most people didn’t even make it this far into the post because now I want to be fair and list the positive, theological elements of the book. But first let me be clear: heresy + truth = heresy. By heresy I mean “if you believe ‘this’ to be true, then you don’t know the real God.” I believe this book is full of heresy and full of truth. But when you put them both together, you get heresy!

  1. The book is incredibly emotionally engaging, a fascinating story, and it could not have been written more creatively.
  2. The book really reaches out to those who are fatherless, who have a broken relationship with their father, etc. It was written by a father to his small children.
  3. The author seemed to understand that Jesus is the center, the aim, and goal of the Trinity. I gotta give him props on that one.
  4. The author seemed to get it right when speaking of the Trinity having different roles from each other, but yet they share equality in essence.
  5. The book was very much so LOVE oriented over everything else.
  6. The book seemed to get God knowing the future right. The author doesn’t seem to be an Open Theist.
  7. The author doesn’t seem to follow the “Kenotic Theory” which is a heresy that says Jesus poured out some of His Divine attributes to become a man.
  8. I believe the author is correct in saying that Jesus lived out of His humanity and not His deity while on earth.
  9. I believe the author is correct in saying that Jesus’ miracles proved His humanity more than His deity.
  10. The author was right on in saying that Jesus was the first human to live life fully human.
  11. The author has got my props when writing that Jesus lived life as the full image of God.
  12. The book is correct in saying that Trinity does mean and point to love and relationship.

So there you have it…these are my humble thoughts on the book “The Shack”. Please know and understand this book is fiction and poor theology about our Triune God.

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